Philly U coach Herb Magee remains stuck on 999 wins
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Herb Magee needs a second attempt at joining Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000-win club.
Magee failed in his bid to reach the milestone when Wilmington upset Philadelphia University 72-70 on Tuesday night and denied the Hall of Fame coach his 1,000th victory.
Magee has won all 999 games over 48 seasons at the 3,600-student private Division II university in Philadelphia.
Krzyzewski is the only other NCAA men’s coach to win 1,000 games. Krzyzewski became the first member of the 1K Club on Jan. 25 against St. John’s at Madison Square Garden.
The 73-year-old Magee coached Tuesday at the tiny campus court at the Gallagher Center that only holds about 1,200 fans on a few rows of bleachers.
He’ll try again Saturday against Post.
“You don’t win this many games all the time without people expecting you to win,” Magee said. “It’s a shame.”
The Rams (14-6, 8-3 Central Athletic Collegiate Conference) lost for the first time at home this year and were beaten by a Wilmington team that had only seven wins this season.
Tyaire Ponzo-Meek snapped a tie game with a 3-pointer for the Wildcats (8-15, 7-7) and hit another late for a 70-65 lead.
With a chance to tie on the final possession, Magee went for the win and called for a 3-pointer that was missed by Nick Schlitzer as time expired.
“I’ve never dwelled on any milestone,” Magee said. “They’re annoying to me.”
The Rams trailed the Delaware school for most of the game before taking a 41-40 lead with 14:28 left. Schlitzer hit a 3 for a 51-44 lead and the fans, mostly dressed in maroon, erupted and matched the decibel level of any big-time arena.
Magee never cracked a smile until a scramble for a loose ball near the Philly U bench knocked him to the ground.
Philly U issued more than a dozen press credentials and TV cameras filmed from the sideline in a setting more familiar at a major D-I city hoops game.
Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell and Philadelphia Phillies executive Dave Montgomery enjoyed front-row seats, and coaches Jay Wright of Villanova and John Giannini of La Salle were in attendance. Philly U said 34 former players were expected at the game.
“All this, I’m not used to this,” Magee said. “Nobody asks me any questions after the game except, ‘Where you going, Herb?’ This is tough.”
Ponzo-Meek hit four 3s and scored 24 points for Wilmington.
“Being Division II players, you don’t play in a game like this unless it’s a championship setting,” coach Dan Burke said. “Just to have the crowd, the atmosphere, I thought it would be a really special night for our guys and they rose to the occasion.”
Magee is a Philly U lifer. He has earned all of his victories at the tiny school and has become a local hoops icon and a Naismith Hall of Fame coach in a city with deep basketball roots. He set the school’s scoring record (then known as Philadelphia Textile), bypassed a shot with the Boston Celtics to take a job at the school as an assistant, then became head coach in 1967.
He led the program to a national championship in 1970.
Magee earned win No. 1 in his first game as coach with a 62-50 victory over Trenton State (now The College of New Jersey) on Dec. 1, 1967. Magee has had only one losing season and built his career with regular 20-win seasons and NCAA tournament appearances.
He turned Philly U into one of the premier D-II programs and was responsible for two banners hanging in the rafters at the gym: His retired No. 4 and one celebrating his Aug. 12, 2011 enshrinement into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.